Sunday, August 28, 2011

Watch for those verbs

Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
 May we remember the intensity of those verbs when we have such choices to make. It seems at times Christians can have a ho-hum attitude at times when it comes to pursuing God and godly things, or fleeing those things He doesn't approve of. May His presence saturate our lives so that when we look at the world through His eyes, we'll see the good and the evil with the same joy and disgust as He does. And may we be SO thankful that when God looks at His children, He sees joy because of Christ in us, and not the abhorrent people we are outside of Jesus' blood.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Me first!

Recently the bus I was on arrived at its destination, so I got up and walked toward the door to get off. Though that took no more than a few seconds, the moment the bus driver opened the door the people waiting to get on immediately started entering. Now my understanding is that if people are in an enclosed space like a bus or elevator, they should be allowed to exit before others enter. But maybe things have changed (at least here)? Where I live, I too often see cars on the highway not letting traffic merge from on-ramps, people not holding doors when somebody's two feet behind them, not saying thank you for a kind deed granted to them, and so on.

I've heard the 1970s was called the "Me Decade," but for certain people or cultures, it's "me first" in any era. For several years, the US Army's slogan was "An Army of One." I never liked that slogan, because it seemed to imply that the individual is more important than the team (whether that was the intention, I can't say; I'm only giving my impression). I can't imagine any wise military leader believing that.

I've certainly been guilty of thinking "me first." But as much short-term satisfaction that might give, when I've deferred to others rather than getting my own way, when I've done something for somebody without expecting something in return--I am far more satisfied. My wife is the ultimate "giver" as far as I'm concerned. While she, like I, enjoys being pampered at times, she will not hesitate to bless me in some way by giving of herself sacrificially. Her generosity has helped me see what a blessing it can be to think of others first.

I'm trying to follow through with that mindset more & more by not having a quid pro quo requirement when it comes to reading or commenting on others' blogs, tweets, etc. If I like what I'm reading, that's all that matters. I'm trying not to be upset when somebody doesn't read or post something on my blog. But I am human. Maybe hanging around people like my wife (& Christ) will help me get my priorities straight.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My *can't* helps my *can*

My wife's sister and brother-in-law celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary yesterday, and my wife and I offered to hold a surprise party at our home. Lots of guests were coming, so we wanted everything to look nice. The house was a flurry of activity as my wife, her nephew's wife, her nephew's wife's mom, her friend, and her son (and others; not sure who else) were talking amongst themselves and putting decorations here and there. Me? I stood, like a deer in the headlights, clueless as to what help to give. Decorating for such events is, for me, a can't. Well, maybe it's a shouldn't, because I would not create a very pleasant atmosphere if I was put in charge.

I helped--when I was told where to put something, or to clean this or that. But that was the extent of my participation. And then my wife suggested I take pictures. I'm no pro at that by any means, but I think the pictures (and a couple videos) came out fairly nice. Compared to the can't of decorating, picture-taking for me was a sort-of can.

I don't spend the bulk of my time taking pictures. I enjoy it when I'm doing it, but it's not my thing. I believe there are a handful of things I really like doing, and do quite well. I'm not going to keep wishing I could do other things. God has given me different giftings and talents, and I should never assume mine are any more or less important than the next person's, nor should I envy what others can do. In fact, I should always seek to do what's necessary to excel in my cans, while praising and marveling about the abilities of those who can do my can'ts.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Why me for this mission?

It's coming up on 8 months since started this blog. However, my mission, upon which this blog is based, has been on my heart for several years. How am I doing with it? Well, like a nagging itch, it hasn't let me go, but I've really only scratched it enough to stop it from bothering me, rather than going at it full force. Does that sound wrong? It is reality. Jonah wasn't a willing participant to God's plan to have him preach against the wicked city of Nineveh, but God wouldn't let him not do it. I'm getting the feeling that despite my belief that there are others far more suited for this mission (and maybe He does have others working in tandem with me), God has given me the responsibility to carry this forth. I have to believe He is with me on this, because on my own I'm in no way ready or able. Please pray that I'll be a willing servant of His, & that I'll find all the ability I need for this calling in Him.

Monday, August 8, 2011

God's name remembered with praise or disdain?

Ps. 45:17 "I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations;
   therefore nations will praise you forever and ever."

Do I present God in my life in such a way that those around me will remember Him with praise, the testimony of my witness reverberating so mightily that subsequent generations will praise Him as well?

God is known intellectually by many through the words of the Bible. He is perceived, perhaps even more strongly, through the lives of Christians. Yes, the word of God is "living and active" (Heb. 4:12), but how many people don't read the Bible, & depend on the daily walk of professed Christ-followers for their assessment of God and Christianity? The "piercing" of God's word into the hearts and souls of people is no doubt enhanced or hindered by how people view our lives--my life...lives which will help create a lasting testimony to those watching us, for good or bad. That God grants us the ability to have some impact on how much He is honored or disdained is both wonderful and frightening. I pray that when my life is over, I'll have brought great honor to His name in the hearts of people for years to come.

Monday, August 1, 2011

One-way kindnesses

There's a man I come across several days per week, a man who if you knew the situation in which we meet you might agree why I think he should be especially friendly. I won't reveal that situation, to protect his privacy. I know others in similar situations who always say hello to me, and in some cases we even have rather lengthy conversations.

Not with this man. Not one word from him. I say "hello": Nothing. I say "good day, sir." Not even a look. What would you do. What would Jesus do? I, for sure, wasn't like Jesus at first. After being (what I saw as) dissed the first few times, I stopped saying anything. Then, gradually, I started saying "hi" and "bye" again, but extra loud--to show I'm the better man. (I sometimes have, in a similar mode, said "you're welcome" when somebody doesn't thank me for a kind deed.) And as I walked away, I'd mumble/curse under my breath about "what a jerk, who does he think he is?"...

As I thought about my blog, and the idea of godly excellence (ADMIRABLE), and something I read recently about standing out from the crowd, I told myself the next time he doesn't respond in kind, it won't stop me from greeting him in the future. And with God's help, I'll always do it with love & sincerity.